Pakistan has offered the United States a joint operation against the Haqqani Network, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said in an interview with a local news channel on Monday.
The minister told the outlet that “Islamabad has offered US authorities to visit Pakistan with details of the Haqqani Network’s safe havens in the country. If they found any activities in the targeted areas, our forces along with the US would destroy them once and for all”.
About the repeated US demands of ‘do more’ in the war on terror, Asif said: “If the US administration exerts more pressure on us, friend countries including China, Russia, Iran and Turkey will stand by our side.”
The minister said that Pakistan would refuse to accept “if the US foreign and defence secretaries are coming to dictate us”. “Now we will do what is in the best interest of our country,” he went on to say, adding that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was offered the same option during the meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his recent visit to Afghanistan.
Asif said that Pakistan wanted to have good relations with the US on equality basis.
Expressing concerns, the minister said the US should investigate the presence of “Daesh” in Afghanistan. “Any policy which was isolating Pakistan would fail,” he said.
Replying to another question, Asif said that Pakistan’s civil and military leadership were on the same page as regards Afghan policy.
Recently, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif visited the United States where he met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other officials. Asif’s visit was aimed at resumption of bilateral talks to ease tensions with the US that emerged as a result of US President Donald Trump’s August 21 speech.
Trump had lambasted Pakistan for being a “safe haven” for terrorist groups. Pakistan rejected his comments strongly, calling them “hostile and threatening”.
To another question about the National Action Plan, Asif said that it was made to wipe out terrorists from the country. “All the national institutions and political parties had developed consensus on the implementation of NAP,” he added.
The minister, in reply to a question about the ruling PML-N and party president, said that the present government would complete its five years constitutional tenure and the PML-N would be victorious in the 2018 general elections.
“Nawaz Sharif had returned to Pakistan from London and faced the cases,” he said, adding that despite reservations over the process of Joint Investigation Team, Sharif family had cooperated with the courts.